Keeping the city safe as life gets back to normal  - CI Murray Tait

It has been such a long time, but is extremely pleasing to see the city centre getting back to a sense of normality.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 7:00 am
Chief Inspector Murray Tait, Edinburgh Division
Chief Inspector Murray Tait, Edinburgh Division

Visitors and residents are finally returning to enjoy all the attractions on offer, be it new shopping centres or restaurants and bars.

In response to this increase, our officers from the Central Initiative Team at the West End Police Station have been working closely with local businesses and community associations to tackle acquisitive crime and offending within the area. Working in both uniform and plain clothes, the officers are out and about on a daily basis, responding to crimes and targeting known offenders.

We recently identified a male for eight separate thefts from motor vehicles parked in the West End. A separate male was also traced in connection with 11 thefts from business premises in the area. In addition, officers were able to recover two stolen watches valued at £14,000.00 and a third male was apprehended. All three individuals have charged and reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

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Allowing businesses to trade and thrive without concern regarding acquisitive crime is a key priority for officers within the city centre and the CIT are regularly engaging with companies to provide crime prevention and security advice to stop break-ins and thefts occurring in the first instance. We also robustly investigate any of these offences that do arise to bring those responsible to justice.

With restaurants, bars and clubs back open, the night time economy is slowly returning back to pre-COVID levels. Reducing violence and associated disorder is another priority for Edinburgh Division. Working closely with City of Edinburgh Council, our various licensed premises and Street Assist on a weekly basis, our Operation Nightguard officers are out and about each weekend to respond to any incidents and assist vulnerable individuals.

While we will do everything we can to ensure venues are adhering to all the terms of their licences and staff are working appropriately to safeguard their patrons, we want the public to help our joint efforts to keep them safe. Planning your journey to and from your destination in advance, drinking responsibly and staying together with whoever you are socialising with are all really important steps to take to help prevent you falling victim to any form of criminality.

Elsewhere in the South East our Community Team have been listening and responding to concerns raised by local residents. We are well aware of the community concerns in respect of drug misuse and dealing within our area, along with serious and organised criminals. Drugs have a significant negative impact on community wellbeing and cohesion and it is no secret that drug dealers look to target the most vulnerable members of society.

In response we implemented Operation Vanguard, which is a structured approach that seeks to deter, disrupt, detect and divert criminal behaviour, while reassuring and supporting our communities. We also work alongside a range of internal and external partners.

Officers have been carrying out high visibility and plain clothes patrols. They have also ensured relevant persons wanted on court warrants were prioritised and information received from the public was swiftly acted upon.

Since the inception of Operation Vanguard, a number of drug warrants have been executed and five people have been reported to the procurator fiscal. We have also removed £250,000 worth of drugs, such as cannabis from our streets.

Information from the public is vital in tackling this issue and together we can reduce this harmful behaviour in our communities.

I know road safety is an important issue for all residents and we recently launched Operation Slow Time, which looks to challenge poor driving behaviour through education and enforcement. Slow Time has seen officers carrying out high visibility road safety and speed checks in identified hot spot areas and outside schools. In the last two-months over 20 drivers have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal for road traffic related offences.

In December we also deployed unmarked police horses and vehicles in Liberton Drive and Braidshill Road following complaints from the equestrian community. During this operation 32 drivers were given educational advice in respect of passing horses safely.

The community team will continue to work with communities and partners to address poor driving behaviour.

Chief Inspector Murray Tait, Edinburgh Division